How do you decide if you need a follow focus system?
Are you shooting at large apertures with shallow DOF on a regular basis?
Is your production devoid of an external monitor with good resolution?
Is there a lot of movement, either by the talent or by the camera?
Are you shooting for broadcast or the silver screen?
Are you using cheap semi-plastic lenses with poorly constructed focusing rings?
If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, your production will greatly benefit from a follow focus system.
- Geared focusing mechanism for finer focus throw
- Rigid construction to limit vibration
- Allows a second person (focus-puller) to pull focus by standing out of the camera operator’s way
- Clear white area for erasable markings
- Precise machining with no ‘bumps’ in the movement
Digital Shoulder Rig and Follow Focus, for the most non-critical jobs:
, a good all-round system:
You can see the difference in materials used in the first and second choices. In regular use, the difference in ergonomics is very noticeable.
Solidity gives you confidence.
Arri MFF-2 Follow focus system, top of the line:
The MFF-2 has interchangeable focus knobs and is available in two different bases: a cine style base and an HD version that utilizes a 1:1 gear ratio for lenses with a shorter throw (such as EF lenses).
Here’s a video from AbelCine that explains this.
Without real-world experience it is almost impossible for anyone to understand why the pros use expensive gear. Nobody wants to pay more for something that can be accomplished for less. It’s the little things that newcomers miss. Hunt for them!
If you are committed to years of digital cinematography, why not invest in a good matte box and follow focus system? These are meant to be long term investments, and the good ones will fit most lenses you throw at them.